I don’t know many ugly people. By “ugly” here, I do not suggest judgment of physical presentment. I use “ugly” to describe the snarled heart, the curled lip, the squinted eye. Such people ooze their own self-loathing as they castigate others.
Most of us muddle through our lives. We hold doors for others. We offer smiles, even grins, through fatigue and pain. We strain to use words of encouragement. We forswear complaint; or hustle around behind our clumsy selves, tendering apologies if we have erred. We do the best we can.
Ugly people fume. They stew in the sad juices of their disappointment. We all experience such phases — weeks, months, maybe even decades. Most of us look back on these unfortunate interludes as dark, lamentable wanderings in misty, murky forests where we would never choose to linger. But some folks have hearts grossly marred by anger. They cannot tear themselves from the clutch of brambles. I fear such folks need a soothing ballad sung by a more noble troubadour than I.
Recently, an artist friend messaged from a far-away country where he lives with his family. We talked for a few minutes about the relentless current of life. The waves rise; the jagged rocks loom; the banks of the river seem distant and unreachable. Yet we grab an oar; grin over our shoulders; holler at the moon; and plunge forward.
I think maybe the ugly people have lost their paddle, or their compass, or that precious packet of belongings stowed beneath the seat. Maybe they need a different soundtrack to their desperate efforts. Maybe they need not an ode but a serenade, or a symphony, or a sweet soft lullaby to comfort them as they throw themselves exhausted on the shore.
Maybe if we join hands and form a circle around them, we can sing away the pain of whatever sorrow has claimed their wretched hearts. I’m game to try.
It’s the thirtieth day of the seventy-second month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.